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The Live Brotherly Game Q&A: The Transcript

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The Brotherly Game held a live Q&A with its readers yesterday. The following is the transcript of the chat.

Scott Kessler: Hi everyone, I'm hoping we get some questions on such short notice.

Comment From Jared
I'm sure you will. I'll start it off. Have you heard any rumors on further moves the Union is planning?

Scott Kessler: Jared, I've been looking around without much success of late. The Gomez signing was somewhat out of nowhere, and I suspect we'll see more of those types of moves now and into the future, based upon what Nowak has said on Twitter.

Comment From Rick
Has Garza officially signed with Tiajuana?

Scott Kessler: According to SBI, he has, Rick. Talking to a league source, it appears that Garza would have had to go through a lottery anyway, making the Union have a low chance of being able to acquire him anyway. Unfortunate.

Comment From Luke Lohr (MLSReserves)
I've got a topic for ya

Scott Kessler: Ask it in another comment, Luke. I can toss it up here.

Comment From mpruitt
Doesn't seem as though the Union have any grand off-season plans. Do you think the plan is to have the current crop just gain more expierence?

Scott Kessler: I think you should expect at least two picks from the SuperDraft to make the team, and one more starter-level player to be acquired as well. Part of the team's need is to get the younger players more playing time, but don't view that as the team not trying to get better. They will.

Comment From Ken
What should we expect from Mr. Adu this year?

Scott Kessler: If healthy, you should expect a top central attacking midfielder. That's the expectation. That's not what I'm thinking we'll see, however.

Comment From Brian
The starting left winger for the Union this year is _______?

Scott Kessler: At the moment, have to think it'll be a battle between Keon Daniel and Gabriel Farfan, but only if a left back is brought in to compete with Farfan. That's IF Gomez is not going to play left back.

Comment From Brian
What are you thoughts on the situations with Torres, Daniel, and Hernandez? What do you see happening and have you heard anything about them lately?

Scott Kessler: I haven't heard anything new on Torres or Daniel, but Hernandez's situation will be resolved in the next month or so, hopefully. Whether that is with the Union or not is to be seen.

Comment From Luke Lohr (MLSReserves)
I'd like to know what the Union fans feel about what makes a good PlaybyPlay/Color Commentator and if accents matter.

Scott Kessler: Union fans have experienced both good and bad color commentators with American and foreign accents. Tommy Smyth was brought on for a spot during the team's inaugural season and was highly disliked in the role, as was original color guy Kyle Martino. Taylor Twellman seemed to resonate well with the fans, with his high energy approach to the position. JDP is the best in the biz in America, so not much to say on him otherwise.

Comment From Greg O.
I had Hackworth on the Philly Soccer Show, he echoed what Nowak has said, they are looking for size

Scott Kessler: Gomez brings his 6'0" height to the team, but the question is whether he will be played in a box-to-box midfield role that he's made a career out of, or as a defender.

Comment From mk_27
What are the chances Nakazawa will still be with the U

Scott Kessler: Gomez being brought in certainly hurts Naka's chances of staying on the team, but his low salary gives him an edge on staying on because of salary cap reasons and Nowak's want to have a deep squad.

Comment From mpruitt
Other than another forward, what you see them needing?

Scott Kessler: I think Martinez all but shuts the doors on bringing in another forward, unless the Union sign a cheap vet. A left back is needed, if only to get Garfan into his more natural attacking midfield role, and center back depth.

Comment From JvH
Read somewher that the Union currently are 1 Int rost spot short. Who will be the odd man out?

Scott Kessler: Even with the releases of JDG and Thorne Holder, the Union are one spot short because of the signing of Joe Tait during the 2011 season. His international slot was originally allotted to Levi Houapeu, but Tait took it when Houapeu was placed on injured reserve. If Houapeu gets a green card (10 years now in the USA), then the whole situation is fixed.

Comment From Luke Lohr (MLSReserves)
RE Adu: @Ken, more than you got last year. Adu took a while to acclimate and only showed glimpses. I'd imagine a full offseason of training under Nowak will wake him up to reality.

Scott Kessler: I'm going to try to get to all of the comments that aren't (accidental) doubles.

Comment From Matt
Do you have any idea when the Union will make the Gomez signing official ? They are not putting anything on their website.

Scott Kessler: Kerith Gabriel, of the Daily News, suggested that the announcement could come next week.

Comment From Jared
Any thoughts on whether the current European training stints for our younger players will turn into more formalized agreements between the Union and those European clubs?

Scott Kessler: It's always a risk. Pfeffer was wanted by Hoffenheim last year when he trained with the team in Germany, so there's a history with it for the Union. I don't see them allowing any of their young players going (just) yet. None of them will command a large enough transfer fee at the moment to make it worthwhile for the Union.

Comment From Greg O.
What do you think they will do with Gomez? How does he fit with the D-mids?

Scott Kessler: If the Union move to that bucket styled 4-2-3-1 full time, it makes sense to have him play as a D-Mid. Otherwise, it means that Carroll gets some rest and having Okugo and Gomez leave for international duty during the year hurts less.

Comment From mk_27
Love seeing so many Union players in camp with the U23 olympic hopefuls... but could that be a double-edged sword if the US make it (which is never a guarantee, with only 2 CONCACAF spots available for the London Games)?

Scott Kessler: With Gomez added, it hurts a lot less for the Union. They now have two starters at the CDM position. Okugo gets his playing time at a high level without hurting the team at all.

Comment From Brian
If Hernandez doesn't sign with the Union, would he enter the draft? Go to college? Go to an academy in Europe?

Scott Kessler: He wants to go professional, but is only a junior in high school. It's here (Union) or overseas, as has been seen through the movements of a lot of young American players when they choose not to sign with MLS. Nowak's comment that the team doesn't have much room to sign another Home Grown Player this year doesn't help the process.

Comment From Ken
Thoughts on super draft pick? SBI had a mid in the mock draft. But after the Gomez signing I would rafter see a defender.

Scott Kessler: I have two thoughts: (1) SBI's mocks and coverage of the SuperDraft/college is really lacking. Just basically a collection of thoughts from talking to a couple of coaches and scouts. I'd suggest reading Travis M. Clark of MLS Soccer and J.R. Eskilson of (2) I highly doubt they pick up a winger/central mid considering the size of the team's midfield right now.

Comment From Rick
with the olympic qualifiers, we're looking to lose Okugo, Williams, Adu, and possibly Jack and Zac. do the union have the depth to cover at this point?

Scott Kessler: I doubt that every one of them will make the squad (aka, I don't think Adu will), but the Union seem to have at least two starters at every position in the midfield and in terms of forwards. The main concern to me would be about the loss of Williams for an extended period of time. It'd put a lot of pressure on Ryan Richter, who was a midfielder/forward in college.

Comment From Ryan
Any insight as to who the Union have their eyes on in the draft? Say, perhaps, moving up a few spots in the first round for someone like Matt Hedges (who played for Reserves coach Brendan Burke for the past two summers with the Reading United)?

Scott Kessler: Hedges is a name to watch, as are any of the left backs that are projected to be drafted during the SuperDraft. It seems to me that, unlike last year, there are options at every position that the Union need to improve or find quality depth for - LB, CB.

Comment From Jared
Have you heard anything on the business end of things? New sponsors, new stadium plans, etc? Are they still looking at expanding the stadium in the near future?

Scott Kessler: The Union will have peanut chews in the stadium next year, if that interests you. As far as I know, the stadium expansion plans are still being discussed.

Comment From mpruitt
Heard or seen anything regarding Adu's training habits? Any issues there?

Scott Kessler: I've yet to hear anything that disparages his worth ethic. His problem last year was an inability to find health.

Comment From Mike
Any word on if the Union's club-neutral academy will follow suit when the USSDA moves to a 10-month schedule across the board and outlaws kids from playing high school ball?

Scott Kessler: I've talked to a higher up within YSC and was told they're still debating it because of the impact it'll have on the kids within the Union's system.

Comment From Murph
I think Gomez plays left back

Scott Kessler: It'd surprise me if he played solely at left back. He's a box-to-box midfielder by trade, but has the ability to play anywhere defensively. I'm thinking a new approach in the midfield in some way.

Comment From Greg O.
I wanna see more Amobi. I think the phase-out of Carroll may begin this year. Who do you think is trade bait on the team currently?

Scott Kessler: Considering the addition of Gomez, Carroll being phased out and used as trade bait is possible. Mwanga and McInerney are trade pieces, as are Adu, Nakazawa and Paunovic, depending on the situations. I foresee a fan favorite leaving the team in the next year because of salary cap reasons.

Comment From Dan
How do you see the Union dealing with the fact that they now have three young forwards that need more time instead of two?

Scott Kessler: Jack is going to be away with the Olympic team if they qualify for the tournament, so that eliminates one concern. Martinez will probably see time with the Costa Rican national team... so perhaps the better question is, will the Union have enough forwards during games? I think a cheap vet isn't out of the question.

Comment From Rick
Isn't williams the biggest potential loss in terms of the olympics? Qualifiers are the same sate as the home opener, and the games themselves would be mid summer?

Scott Kessler: Williams would be a huge blow to the way this team plays and his back up, Ryan Richter, has yet to play in an MLS game. I think Richter has potential to be a quality back up in Nowak's wingback style, but we don't know how he'll do, yet.

Comment From Brian
I think Hernandez is actually a senior. I could be wrong though.

Scott Kessler: I was mistaken. His graduation year is 2012. Nonetheless, I don't believe he qualifies for the SuperDraft until he attends college.

Comment From Murph
Please no "empty bucket" again.

Scott Kessler: Curse of the Migz!

Comment From mk_27
Any idea if Martinez is much of an aerial threat? I can only remember the Union scoring 2 goals off of headers last year...

Scott Kessler: Paunovic and Daniel had those two headed goals. Martinez supposedly is good in the air, despite only being 5'11".

Comment From mpruitt
I'm kind f disappointed they cut down the number of rounds in the Super Draft.

Scott Kessler: The third round of the SuperDraft is now the first round of the Supplemental Draft. It only changes salary designations, really. Last season's third round was huge for one team, though. Toronto selected Joao Plata in it and he surprised everyone by being able to handle MLS' physicality.

Comment From Natalie
Piggybacking on Ken's question, who are the decent defensive prospects out there in the draft?

Scott Kessler: Because it's finals weeks for me, I haven't had time to get up to speed on SuperDraft prospects yet. Sometime in late December, early January I'll have a series on who I think the Union should target.

Comment From mk_27
What are your thoughts on the new conference-based unbalanced scheduling format, where we'll only see half of the Western Conference teams at PPL in 2012?

Scott Kessler: It was an interesting decision, if only because the league forced itself into a corner by adding a 19th team and leaving it an odd number. We'll see how this season goes, but an emphasis on regional rivalries is never a bad thing (see the NFL, MLB, etc).

Comment From Greg O.

I think Jack Mac and Naka are pieces you can move. I think Gomez plays as a D-mid. How finally grabs the reigns at Attacking mid? Adu or Roger?

Scott Kessler: Jack has runs that no other player on the Union seems to be able to make, but he just lacks a lot in terms of size and on the ball skill sometimes. If Mwanga and McInerney were combined, they'd be a top striker anywhere in the world. As for attacking mid, we don't even know the status of Roger's loan or contractual rights right now. Adu is the #1 currently.

Comment From Daniel
I suspect a Farfan would play RB if Williams is away

Scott Kessler: That only weakens the team defensively and offensively. Marfan should stay centrally or on the right side of the field. He has the talent to be a top player in MLS if he's given the chance to continue to grow as a player.

Comment From Mike
3-4-1-2... Williams Califf Valdes. Farf Carroll Gomez Farf. Adu. Le Toux Martinez. Yes? That's quite a lineup if you ask me.

Scott Kessler: My only problem would be with Williams in the back. He's offensively minded and that hurts a three-man backline. Otherwise, yes, that'd be quite a lineup, though it'd be defensively weak. A three man backline forces the outside mids/wing backs to cover a ton of the field and make lots of defensive stops.

Comment From Greg O.
Wigan actually looks pretty good, in this game...

Scott Kessler: Europe. Oh how I've stopped caring about games there. Truly, MLS is my game now.

Comment From Guest
any news from the team regarding ticket increases in supporters sections that arent in the river end?

Scott Kessler: Right now, I believe the team is holding steady on the price increases that it announced earlier this fall. I do know that some of the pseudo-supporters groups are trying to talk to the team about them.

Comment From Daniel
Any thoughts on if the team has considered trying Jack Mac on the wing? He makes good runs.

Scott Kessler: He does make good runs, but full time on the wing isn't for him. He doesn't have the on the ball skills to stay there, nor the crossing skills (at least I think so on that one. Have we ever really seen him cross?)

Comment From mk_27
Any idea if or when we'll hear news about Torres? He's my favorite player on the team right now, but I really don't have a sense of whether they'll extend the loan, buy him outright, or turn to Pfeffer if the asking price is too high.

Scott Kessler: I don't see the Union being able to extend his loan for a third year. It's just not commonplace in soccer anywhere in the world. To me, it's buying time if the price is right. But the question is if the team has the allocation money to do that, since it doesn't appear that they've spent any of the BIMBO money yet.

Comment From Greg O.
Three man back takes away Sheanon's ability to bomb forward. Call me a Luddite but gimme 4-4-2 any day.... Although with this roster dunno if that works.

Scott Kessler: A 4-4-2 doesn't exactly work, but a 4-5-1 that looks like a 4-1-2-2-1 would (that's one CDM, two CMs with different duties, two wide players and one striker). Or a Manchester United-esque 4-4-1-1.

Comment From Jamie
Do you think Nowak has something against using the DP designation? He had opportunities to use it on Adu and Martinez but seems more interested in using Allocation money to buy down their contracts..?

Scott Kessler: Adu is either a DP or having his contract paid down and Martinez's salary + transfer fee must be lower than $200,000. That's about all I have on the situation. It's odd.

Comment From Greg O.
I like the 4-4-1-1 with Adu/Torres behind Seba.

Scott Kessler: Would be interesting, but I'd rather see Martinez, who plays almost like a withdrawn forward and is much faster than both Adu and Torres. Plus he's a striker, not a CAM, so despite his problems in front of net in Costa Rica (apparently he was in a slump), he'd still be more likely to score.

Comment From Brae
Do you think the CCL is important?

Scott Kessler: It can add allocation money, fame and attention for the team throughout North America. Plus it potentially gets the team to the Club World Cup, which would just mean more cash and more media attention. That's a big plus. The downside is more games played, more travel and more need for quality depth.

Scott Kessler: Jimmy Rollins reportedly signed with the Phillies right now. Just throwing that out there.

Comment From Ken
Non mls questions. How did your finals treat you. Mine did terrible things to me.

Scott Kessler: Still have two next week. Expect few posts between now and Friday.

Comment From Jamie
Is the team good enough as is (today) to compete with teams like LA for the Cup next year?

Scott Kessler: Yes, but it won't win the Cup. It can compete.

Comment From mk_27
Toronto FC came out blazing with a solid stadium and incredible fan support, but it's fizzled for a number of reasons (team performance, issues between the fans and front office, musical chairs with the personnel, etc.). The Union brass seem to have a finger on the pulse of the fanbase, but do you think there'll be rumblings if the team regresses and fails to make the playoffs this year?

Scott Kessler: I'm sure there will be rumblings, but there shouldn't be problems with the fan base. The Union are young, talented and gaining experience. Think of the Flyer's first decade of existence as a franchise and rename it "Union first decade." That's the potential here with this roster and coaching staff.

Comment From David Beckham
.. I want to play for the Union this year... your thoughts?

Scott Kessler: Not unless you're willing to take $1 million instead of $1 million-a-month with PSG. Sorry, Becks. Just head back to LA.

Comment From Greg O.
I think I'm alone in this, but I wanna see a deep US Open Cup run. Anyone else with me?

Scott Kessler: I'm with you. Automatic spot in the CONCACAF Champions League for the winner. Why not? Plus it could mean a trophy before the Red Bulls, which is something the Sons of Ben would love.

Comment From Mike
"Yes, but it won't win the Cup." Certainly not with that attitude.

Scott Kessler: Compare this team to the Galaxy. It's not at the point where it's going to win a Cup next year. There are still positions that can be improved upon and salary cap situations that could be handled better. Not enough depth at key positions, as well.

Comment From Jamie
Follow up to my previous question as to whether the team is good enough to compete as is... what pieces are the Union missing to realistically have a chance at winning the Cup?

Scott Kessler: Garfan in the midfield, a starting left back, quality depth behind their center backs (whether that is Joe Tait and another CB or otherwise), a vet striker to handle time when McInerney and Martinez are away, a vet midfielder with versatility - just in case.

Comment From Hanukkah Harry
What would you like for Hanukkah this year Scott?

Scott Kessler: I would have asked for the Union to get Greg Garza as a signing or through a lottery, but he's signing in Mexico. Too bad.

Comment From Daniel
I'd love to see an Open Cup run as well, we aren't deep enough yet though

Scott Kessler: Agree with you there, Daniel.

Comment From jake

MLS question, with competition from China, do you think we are going to see EPL players come to the mls like becks and Henry? There were rumblings about giggs, Drogba and Rio Ferdinand

Scott Kessler: Anelka was given an obscene amount of money, as would Drogba if he chooses to head to China. Ferdinand and Giggs are at places in their careers where America would fit them perfectly - good pay, good schools, comfortable living.

Comment From mk_27
Le Toux has yet to earn a yellow card in his tenure with the Union, though he's probably the most whiny (read: French) player when the ref doesn't see things his way... will he make it 3 straight years without a caution?

Scott Kessler: I can see him extending it, but being cautioned is such an easy thing to happen in MLS.

Comment From jake
What's going to happen with Keon this year?

Scott Kessler: If he gets his visa, probably start on the left side of the midfield. If not, his rights could be transferred (and probably will be).

Comment From Jamie
D.C. move to Baltimore a good move for them?

Scott Kessler: Horrible for the team. From what I understand, many of their supporters would be annoyed by the additional 30-45 minutes it'd take to get to the stadium because they come from throughout the region, not just the Baltimore area. Plus, DCU has a strong history with DC. It'd be a shame to see one of the city's best sports teams leave over a stadium.

Scott Kessler: (*cough* Colts *cough*)

Comment From mk_27
Former USYNT standout / MetroStars youngster Vincenzo Bernardo signed with the Harrisburg City Islanders at the end of last season after bouncing around Europe for a while. He hasn't played enough to show anything yet, but think he gets a look with our reserves next season?

Scott Kessler: If Nowak doesn't think the team has room for Hernandez to be signed as a HGP, then there's no space for Bernardo. The supplemental roster only has 10 spots, and the Union kept the 29/30 spots open because of the $70,000 in allocation money that comes from not having players in them.

Comment From Jamie
The Union's record at the end of the season next year will be...

Scott Kessler: 13-7-16. They'll be at or near the top of the Eastern Conference with 55 points. Still will have way too many draws.

Comment From Brandon
What can we expect from Gomez?

Scott Kessler: It depends completely on where he's played. If played as a box-to-box midfielder, he'll immediately be one of the best in MLS, as he is one of the best in CONCACAF. If played elsewhere, I honestly don't know yet. I'm going to be talking to people throughout the next couple of weeks to get a better idea of what the Union are getting from him.

Comment From Jamie
Since its Finals Time... fill in the blanks: Martinez will have __ Goals and __ Assists next year...

Scott Kessler: 7 goals and 3 assists. I'm not asking too much of him, am I?

Comment From jake
We won't hold you to it, who is the next big overseas player to come to the mls?

Scott Kessler: Does Guti count as 'big'?

Comment From mk_27
Re:Bernardo - was thinking more along the lines as a guest call-up for reserve league matches a la David Rodriguez, Brian Ackley, etc.

Scott Kessler: I could see it happening. There's no harm in that for the Union or Bernardo.

Comment From Rick
how bad will the red bulls be next year?

Scott Kessler: They'll be a mid-Eastern Conference team again next year, with their ceiling as a wild card place. As their roster currently stands, they're not too good.

Comment From jake
What about Kaka? He needs out of Madrid

Scott Kessler: I don't think MLS would provide a high enough transfer fee or salary for him, plus he's had plenty of injury problems recently.

Comment From Brandon
Should we be expecting to see Hernandez signed as our third HGP soon?

Scott Kessler: Don't except him for anything right now. Give it about a month, at least, before we hear anything about his professional job decisions.

Comment From Mike
Union-related, sort of: JT Noone's alma mater is about to control the ESPN airwaves for the next three hours #TforTempleU

Scott Kessler: T for Temple U, UniversiTy.

Comment From Jamie
Over/Under for number of Madrid players that freeze to death during their match against CSK Moscow...

Scott Kessler: Two. Spaniards and snow aren't a good combination.

Comment From jake
Do you think becks is gonna take the option on an mls team after PSG?

Scott Kessler: I don't think he needs to or wants to play against after PSG. That'd be an 18-month contract. He's near the end of his career.

Scott Kessler: That should have read again, not against.

Comment From Greg O.
Just contributed to the transfer fund. Sending my buddy in LA some Union swag for him and his kids.

Scott Kessler: Is your buddy AEG, the owner of the LAG?

Comment From Jamie
I think he meant do you think Becks would take ownership of a team? Or partial ownership as was built into his contract

Scott Kessler: Ah. Partial ownership was supposedly going to be part of his LAG deal.

Comment From EJ
MLS seems to be having a really hard time finding number 20. If I gave you an over under of 3.5 for number of years we are stuck with this awkward 19 team set-up, what would you take?

Scott Kessler: No later than 2014. They're not having problems so much as gauging interest from prospective locations.

Comment From Jamie
Will soccer ever come close to Football and/or Baseball in terms of popularity in this country? Even if its 100 years down the road..?

Scott Kessler: In America? No. But it's poised to force the big four to become the big five. That's all it needs to be.

Comment From jake
Yes, I was thinking of him taking ownership of a team at the price 5 yrs ago that was supposedly in his contact

Scott Kessler: Something like that this time around, as well.

Comment From Greg O.
Ha! I wish. He's a Jersey Shore boy and wanted a Union shirt.

Scott Kessler: Send him the cast of that show instead.

Comment From Louie
Do you think the Union will try to acquire the full rights to Roger Torres? He probably has the most upside as any of our midfielders, but our midfield is so crowded with young talent.

Scott Kessler: I hope they are, but there's been no news to speak of on his rights yet.

Comment From Jamie
Evaluate this argument: The U.S. mens national team would have won the world cup by now if our best athletes went into soccer at a young age instead of football/baseball/basketball/etc.

Scott Kessler: If they had grown up with soccer and continued with it until they were pros, yes, American would undoubtedly be the best country in the world at soccer. The athleticism in this country is ridiculous.

Comment From mk_27
Any word on the development of the waterfront area attached to PPL? I know it was put on hold for a while due to the economy, but with the new ramp in place, should we expect to see movement in the rest of the project?

Scott Kessler: From what I understand, there are still plans, but until the economy shapes up, nothing.

Comment From Daniel
You should call it quits and go play your soccer game!

Scott Kessler: As these things usually work out, people keep dropping out as time moves along. Still trying to get people together for it.

Comment From Louie
Who do you think is the odd man out on with international roster spots?

Scott Kessler: Either Levi or Joe, unless Levi gets his green card. A couple of players still don't have contracts for 2012, so we don't fully know the situation yet.

Scott Kessler: I have time for two more questions. Soccer game is back on.

Comment From Rick
Looking back at the expansion draft, did the union miss more on not selecting Dunivant or Wondo?

Scott Kessler: Wondo and Dunivant would have certainly changed the outlook of this team if both were performing at the levels they currently are right now. Wondo may not have found himself on the Union, but I think Dunivant would have.

Comment From Jamie
How many more years do you think Mondragon will be kept before the Union turns the reigns over to MacMath full time?

Scott Kessler: I think this upcoming season is the last one for Mondragon before MacMath becomes the starter. They'll keep Mondi as the backup for one year (2013) to help guide MacMath, then Mondragon would probably retire. That's how I see it going down.

Comment From mk_27
I know you're not a big fan of the summer friendlies, but if you could choose one team for the Union to play at PPL and one team to play at LFF, who would you like to see most? I would pull for Fulham and Barca.

Scott Kessler: Only if I get to be in the press box for them, haha. I'd like to see Porto, Fulham, Aston Villa or Napoli come through. Porto and Napoli are at the top of my list.

Scott Kessler: Thanks for participating, everyone. It was a blast. I'll be having these more frequently in the future.